Two years after a manhunt was launched for him, operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team have arrested a 46-year-old arms dealer, Godwin Chinyere. Chinyere is believed to have sold the firearms, ammunition and rocket launchers used by the suspected billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Owuamadike, alias Evans.
Police sources revealed that Evans, who was arrested in June 2017 in his apartment at the Magodo area of Lagos State by the IRT operatives, led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, confessed during interrogation that some of the rocket launchers and AK-47 rifles used by members of his gang robbery and kidnapping operations were supplied by Chinyere.
The sources explained that the IRT operatives launched a manhunt for Chinyere that time, but he went into hiding when he discovered that Evans had been apprehended.
One of the sources said Chinyere came out of hiding recently when he felt that since the Evans case had stalled in court, the IRT operatives might have stopped looking for him.
He was reportedly trailed to his hideout in Asaba, Delta State, where he was apprehended.
Chinyere confessed to journalists that he sold five AK-47 rifles to Evans, adding that he had turned a new leaf before the suspected kidnapper was arrested.
He stated, “I learnt how to make guns from a village known as Abala and I spent three years learning the skill before I started making my own. I usually sell locally-made double-barrelled guns for the sum of N10,000 and the single-barrelled for N6,000, while the short guns were sold for N10,000 each.
“One of my customers, Samuel Nwakpa, who was coming from Kaduna State to buy guns from me, was the one who linked me with big arms dealers in Chad and Niger Republic. They were the people, who supplied me with the five AK-47 rifles that I sold to Evans.
“I met Evans when he came to my village to treat his bullet wound and his native doctor connected him to me. Evans paid me the sum of N1.7m for the five AK-47 rifles. I took my share and gave the rest of the money to Nwakpa, who also supplied rocket launchers to Evans. I knew that Evans was using the arms for armed robbery and kidnapping.
“Before Evans was arrested, I had stopped the business and turned a new leaf, but I fled and went into hiding when he was arrested because I knew he was going to mention my name to the police, and I didn’t know that the police were still looking for me when I came out of hiding. I warned Evans to stop kidnapping when I turned a new leaf, but he didn’t listen to me.”
The Police Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, who confirmed Chinyere’s arrest and stated that a lot of weapons were recovered from him.
Mba added that investigators discovered that Chinyere was a major arms supplier to Evans and other kidnappers.